California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Western Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio rutulus

The Western Tiger Swallowtail can be in our California gardens much of the year. The first flight is often as early as February. In warmer coastal zones the Western Tiger Swallowtail may have three broods or flights go to maturity. The Western Tiger Swallowtail often drinks from moist earth or mud. Large groupings can frequently be found on stream margins or gravel edges of natural styled ponds. Encouraging the Western Tiger Swallowtail to visit your butterfly garden is relatively easy, they are one of the most common butterflies in the Western United States and Canada. They like water and nectar filled flowers such as Apocynum cannabinum or Agapathus Storm Cloud. They seem to like blue flowers more than others. The female will lay up to 100 eggs during her lifetime. The eggs are laid singly and are shiny and green. The eggs take as little as 4 days to hatch. Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillars will molt 5 times before pupating into adult butterflies. The caterpillars often feed on Sycamore, Fremont Cottonwood, Willows and Alder.

Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus

Western Tiger Swallowtail lands on the leaf of Malacothamnus clementinus. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus

Western Tiger Swallowtail lands on the flower of Malacothamnus clementinus. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus

Western Tiger Swallowtail lands in the duff below a willow tree. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Plants for attracting the Western Tiger Swallowtail to your garden: Agapanthus Storm Cloud
Apocynum cannabinum * Dogbane, Indian Hemp
Alyogyne hakeifolia
Alyogyne Monterey Bay
Alyogyne Mood Indigo
Alyogyne Santa Cruz
Cirsium occidentale * Cobwebby Thistle
Clarkia bottae
Clarkia purpurea quadrivulnera
Clarkia purpurea pupurea
Clarkia unguiculata
Clarkia williamsonii
Eriodictyon crassifolium * Felt Leaved Yerba Santa
Eriodictyon tomentosum * Woolly Yerba Santa
Lonicera involucrata * Twinberry
Lonicera japonica purpurea * Purple Leaf Japanese Honeysuckle
Lonicera subspicata denudata * Chaparral Honeysuckle
Malacothamnus clementinus * San Clemente Bush Mallow
Malacothamnus davidsonii * Davidson's Bush Mallow
Malacothamnus densiflorus * Yellow Stem Bush Mallow
Malacothamnus fasciculatus * Chaparral Bush Mallow Scabiosa atropurpurea Black Knight * Black Knight Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa atropurpurea Royal Ruby * Royal Ruby Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa caucasica Fama Deep Blue * Deep Blue Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa causasica Perfecta Blue * Perfecta Blue Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa columbaria Butterfly Blue * Butterfly Blue Pincushion Flower
Scabuisa columbaria Pink Mist * Pink Mist Pinchushion Flower
Scabisoa cretica * Balaeric Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa farinosa * Dwarf Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa ochroleuca * Yellow Pincushion Flower
Verbena bonariensis * Purpletop Vervain
Verbena lilacina De La Mina
Verbena lilacina Paseo Rancho
Verbena rigida